The UFC is taking Fight Night back to Las Vegas and the Apex Center again tomorrow night and even though the card might seem forgettable outside of the main event, there are a few really good prospect pairings that definitely have an element of intrigue around them. There are also a couple of “must-win” bouts, the first of which opens the main card action, Dhiego Lima vs. Matt Brown. Brown is on a two-fight losing skid and has also reached his 40th birthday, a fact not lost on me considering his recent performances inside the octagon. The bout that features another athlete in dire straights is Serghei Spivac vs. Aleksei Oleinik. The 43-year-old “Boa Constrictor” is also on back-to-back losses and has Oleinik been turning in performances that are tainted with lagging cardio and an eroded chin. Both Brown and Oleinik will need to dig deep if they’re planning on future fights inside the promotion.
The main event is a certified banger. Both Dan Ige and Chan Sung Jung have had success against high-level competition, although I would say that TKZ has the edge in that regard, and even holds a win over Dustin Poirier. That said, Ige has quietly been putting his skill set to work, rattling off an impressive six-fight win streak before Calvin Kattar derailed his freight train. He has since rebounded with a sensational knockout victory of Gavin Tucker. To say this main event is a very important one is an understatement of epic proportions. This contest could sort out the pecking order on the contender’s ladder.
We’ve selected four fighters from the event that will illustrate why they are worthy of their lofty or budget-conscious price tags in an effort to help you select your DraftKings fantasy lineups. Let’s get started.
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Aleksa Camur, $9,300
Camur is a very good prospect that has yet to achieve his full potential. He was defeated in his last bout, a unanimous decision loss to William Knight, but that shouldn’t have too much bearing on this particular matchup considering how raw and unpolished Nicolae Negumereanu is. It’s not that he’s unathletic, because he isn’t. It all comes down to how awful he looked against the uninspiring Saparbek Safarov. Camur has a legitimate hot hand with one-punch knockout power. Nicolae has six TKOs, but none were the results of a single shot. Where he might have more luck is on the ground, as he is a willing and capable grappler with three submission finishes, although Camur has demonstrated he also has some talent on the ground. And that is where the buck stops for Negumereanu because even with these benefits, there is more upside to Camur’s game, namely his durability and stopping power.
Pricing: A little too wide
Serghei Spivac, $9,200
Spivac isn’t going to zip up the contender ladder based on a win over Aleksei Oleinik, but it will give him an entry-level position where “The Boa Constrictor” sits at Number 15. Spivac is a decent grappler who nails his takedowns and is likely willing to engage on the ground with the Russian submission ace. He also has considerable power, is 17 years younger and continues to improve from fight to fight. When you pit that against Oleinik’s ever-softening chin and cardio issues, you have a recipe for disaster. Oleinik is still dangerous on the ground, but I believe his time in the octagon is limited, and his last two performances made him look more mortal than ever. This is the classic matchmaker’s “out with the old, in with the new” stepping stone match, and sadly for Oleinik, he’ll likely be the one getting stepped on.
Dan Ige, $8,000
Ige racked up six, straight wins before Calvin Kattar made him pay with a pretty lopsided beating over five rounds. Now, it can be argued that Edson Barboza should have won their fight, but that’s a conversation for another time. Ige has recently added another facet to his skill set — power. After that Kattar defeat, he rebounded with a sensational, one-punch knockout of Gavin Tucker, a man who had previously never been KO’d. Chan Sung Jung has had knockout power all along, but his problems reside in his defensive game where he clearly has some gaping holes. He’s willing to take a lot more punishment than he should, and his complete and utter dismantling by Brian Ortega was a real eye-opener to those flaws. TKZ might only be 34, but there’s 14 years’ worth of mileage on him with several all-out wars. Typically, when a fighter ventures into that territory, you can almost set a clock to their impending career downfall. One thing that could weigh in his favor is that his strength of schedule is far better than Ige’s. That said, I just can’t let go of the sinking feeling that we’ve already seen the best days of “The Korean Zombie.”
Matt Semelsberger, $7,300
This is an incredibly bold pick for me, but I am very impressed with Semelsberger. He’s got a legit heater with one-punch power. The problem is, his opponent, Kalinn Williams, also has that collar-starching power, as well. He’s durable and has what seems to be endless stamina reserves, two key elements that will benefit him in this fight, as he’s not the most defensively responsible fighter, often taking a few to hand out one. Where Semelsberger is wild and aggressive, “Khaos” is calm, cool and collected, choosing his shots carefully, and using a varied kicking game to supplement those devastating rockets he throws. I like Semelsberger because he seems educable, and this is evident from fight to fight. That and the fact that I love a heavy underdog. It’s almost too much for me to resist. This is a big risk and the obvious upside is with Williams, but I can’t help but think that we’re watching a real talent in the making with Semelsberger — or I’m going to be the laughing stock of the community on Sunday for being so daring. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Pricing: A little too wide
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